Christian Horner thanks FIA for ‘giving us wings’, Ferrari deny poor pace theory

Max Verstappen started from P14 but won the Belgian GP by almost 18 seconds.

Prior to the Belgian Grand Prix, many had predicted that the FIA’s technical directive would see Red Bull Racing and Ferrari drop closer to Mercedes; however, with Max Verstappen winning his ninth race of the season by 17.8 seconds, this clearly wasn’t the case.

The FIA clamped down on porpoising at the Belgian Grand Prix, by measuring how much of the bouncing phenomena each team experienced.

A metric was designed to determine the amount of porpoising needed for it to be deemed a health risk to drivers, with a penalty the likely outcome for any team seen suffering from excessive porpoising.

This saw some team’s increase their ride height, therefore resulting in the car being higher up resulting in less contact between the circuit and the floor of the car.

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Mercedes appear to have been heavily impacted by this, after qualifying two seconds behind Max Verstappen at Spa-Francorchamps.

This was hilarious to Red Bull, with Mercedes having been the leader in getting a technical directive introduced in the first place.

The Austrian side revelled in their most dominant weekend in years, as Verstappen and Sergio Pérez claimed an easy one-two for the team.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner joked that the technical directive “seemed to give us wings and slow down others who wanted to harm us”.

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The team principal is all for the FIA introducing further directives based on the effect it had on the running order, with Ferrari also somewhat further behind Red Bull than previously.

“They should make directives like this more often,” Horner laughed.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was highly expecting the TD to slow both Red Bull and Ferrari down, after deeming both the RB18 and the F1-75 as “illegal”.

With Ferrari having also fallen off the pace of Red Bull last weekend, it does raise the question of if something questionable was going on behind the scenes at the Maranello-based team.

Red Bull were truly imperious at Spa, with Verstappen being over half a second a lap faster than everybody virtually every single lap, despite the TD being “supposed” to impact the Austrian team.

“We were supposed to be the most bothered by these changes, but I think the others will be more bothered now,” Jos Verstappen, ex-F1 driver and Max’s father, told Viaplay.

Ferrari had no answer for Red Bull’s superiority, yet the team don’t believe it’s due to the TD, something Carlos Sainz labelled as “honestly nothing”.

Team principal Mattia Binotto also labelled the TD as “completely negligible”, with the FIA’s new clampdown not being the “answer” as to why the Scuderia were so far behind their title rivals.

“The effects of the technical directive are completely negligible as far as Ferrari are concerned,” the Italian said.

“That is not the answer to the question of why our performance was so bad.”

Sainz blamed the team’s struggles at Spa down to the circuit’s “track characteristics”, with Zandvoort now being crucial in determining whether the TD is actually impacting the Italian team.

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Should Ferrari be dominated by Red Bull in the same way this weekend at the Dutch GP, then it would raise speculation that Ferrari had been pushing the rules to the limit prior to the TD being implemented.

“I think it’s a consequence of track characteristics and our package is not suiting this kind of track, but we will see after Zandvoort,” said Sainz.

“My feeling – and it’s just a feeling – is that we had a bit of an off weekend here.”